The Hollowmen (DVD cover)
|Created by|| Santo Cilauro |
|Directed by||Rob Sitch|
|Opening theme||"North by North" by The Bats|
|Country of origin||Australia|
|No. of seasons||2|
|No. of episodes||12|
|Executive producer(s)||Working Dog Productions|
|Producer(s)|| Santo Cilauro |
|Production company(s)||Working Dog Productions|
|First shown in||Australia|
|Original release||July 2008 –|
The Hollowmen is an Australian television comedy series set in the offices of the Central Policy Unit, a fictional political advisory unit personally set up by the Prime Minister to help him get re-elected. Their brief is long-term vision; to stop worrying about tomorrow's headlines, and focus on next week's.
The Hollowmen was first broadcast on Wednesday, 9 July 2008, on ABC1. Each series comprises six half-hour episodes.On the eve of the first episode's national premiere, the series was approved by the ABC for a second series. The second series was screened right after the first, beginning on 13 September 2008.
The comedy-drama satire is produced by Working Dog Productions, which was also responsible for Frontline , The Panel , Thank God You're Here and Utopia . The music used during the opening credits is an edited instrumental version of the 1987 song "North by North" by New Zealand band The Bats. A special one-off presentation of The Hollowmen was created by Working Dog and played at Parliament House in Canberra on 11 March 2009, in support of the ABC's funding bid for 2009-12.
The Prime Minister is an unseen character.
|First aired||Last aired|
|1||6||9 July 2008||27 August 2008|
|2||6||3 September 2008||8 October 2008|
|Title||Directed by||Written by||Original air date|
|1||1||"Fat Chance"||Rob Sitch|| Santo Cilauro |
|9 July 2008|
|The Central Policy Unit must come up with a meaningful plan to combat obesity in schools in order to keep the Prime Minister's momentum rolling.|
|2||2||"The Ambassador"||Rob Sitch||Santo Cilauro|
|16 July 2008|
|A troublesome Senator agrees to leave politics behind if he gets a nice diplomatic posting. But, unfortunately for the Central Policy Unit, Phillip is about to give a speech outlining a plan commissioned by the PM announcing restrictions that mean only the most qualified people are eligible for appointment as ambassadors for the nation.|
|3||3||"A Time for Talk"||Rob Sitch||Santo Cilauro|
|23 August 2008|
|When conflict breaks out overseas, the Central Policy Unit must find a way to intervene without hurting the international relationships. Murph quickly finds that there is a lot of talk, but not much action.|
|4||4||"Rear Vision"||Rob Sitch||Santo Cilauro|
|30 July 2008|
|The budget lacks an eye-catching "centrepiece" and Tony asks Murph to come up with a last minute policy which will give the PM the visionary public image he wants.|
|5||5||"Military Matters"||Rob Sitch||Santo Cilauro|
|6 August 2008|
|After an embarrassing incident at an air force base brings military recruitment into the headlines, the Central Policy Unit must make life in the uniform appealing to Generation Y.|
|6||6||"A Housing Crisis"||Rob Sitch||Santo Cilauro|
|27 August 2008|
|A report into the cost of maintaining Kirribilli House comes back to bite Ian. With Phillip in charge, the report looks set to embarrass the PM right before another interest rate rise, unless Murph can figure out a way to lower Kirribilli's price tag and make it less elitist.|
|Title||Directed by||Written by||Original air date|
|7||1||"Shared Interests"||Rob Sitch|| Santo Cilauro |
|3 September 2008|
|A scandal with a Junior Minister and poor fashion sense leads to a "blippy dip" in the PM's public image. Murph handles a government crackdown whilst Tony tackles pin-stripes and French cuffs.|
|8||2||"Edifice Complex"||Rob Sitch||Santo Cilauro|
|10 September 2008|
|The PM has recently opened several buildings commissioned by his predecessors, which starts him thinking about his own legacy. Unfortunately for Murph, legacy translates to a massive building somewhere in the parliamentary triangle.|
|9||3||"Wonder Drug"||Rob Sitch||Santo Cilauro|
|17 September 2008|
|Pressure mounts on the Government to fund an expensive new pill, despite evidence that it may not be worth funding at all.|
|10||4||"Vulnerable to Attack"||Rob Sitch||Santo Cilauro|
|24 September 2008|
|The PM's plans to increase spending on national security run into trouble when the Department starts talking about cost-cutting. Meanwhile the Unit ends up exploiting some eager High School students who have won a trip to Canberra.|
|11||5||"A Waste of Energy"||Rob Sitch||Santo Cilauro|
|1 October 2008|
|Global warming is hot on the agenda with the Unit taking up the government's new 'carbon challenge'. But a blindsighted promise to raise emission standards with China may cause some serious problems for international relations.|
|12||6||"A Quiet January"||Rob Sitch||Santo Cilauro|
|8 October 2008|
|The second half of January has no news stories. But a surprise trip for the PM to Antarctica is soon devised to fill this space.|
The first season premiered at 9:30 pm on Wednesday 9 July 2008. After episode 5, it was removed from schedule due to the 2008 Beijing Olympics. The season finale aired at 9:00 pm on Wednesday 27 August.
(5 capital cities)
|Timeslot rank||Overall nightly rank|
|1.01||Fat Chance||9 July 2008||Wednesday 9:30pm||1,185,000||1st||13th|
|1.02||The Ambassador||16 July 2008||1,040,000||2nd||16th|
|1.03||A Time for Talk||23 July 2008||950,000||3rd||18th|
|1.04||Rear Vision||30 July 2008||996,000||2nd||16th|
|1.05||Military Matters||6 August 2008||816,000||3rd||24th|
|1.06||A Housing Crisis||27 August 2008||Wednesday 9:00pm||926,000||2nd||15th|
|2.01||Shared Interests||3 September 2008||931,000||2nd||17th|
|2.02||Edifice Complex||10 September 2008||1,044,000||2nd||16th|
|2.03||Wonder Drug||17 September 2008||941,000||3rd||19th|
|2.04||Vulnerable to Attack||24 September 2008||906,000||3rd||15th|
|2.05||A Waste of Energy||1 October 2008||877,000||3rd||16th|
|2.06||A Quiet January||8 October 2008||931,000||3rd||16th|
It was partially inspired by Cilauro's 1996 documentary The Campaign about Paul Keating's failed election. They initially wanted to make a series about an independent politician, but decided that such people didn't really hold much power and wanted the explore the idea that politics is run like a corporation.
Debi Enker from the Sydney Morning Herald described the first episode of The Hollowmen as using "low-key style [and] sandpaper-dry wit" to show the hollowness of the political newscycle.
Opposition leader Tony Abbott used its premiere to criticise the government, claiming that the "Howard government didn't work like that", and that the series would not have made sense under a Liberal government.
It won the 2009 Logie for Most Outstanding Comedy Program.
In 2008 the Sydney Morning Herald interviewed political advisors about the accuracy of the show. Political advisors noted that the characters were more cynical and amoral that they and their colleagues, and played to people's prejudices, but a few conceded that they knew people like Rob Sitch's character, Tony. They found that pollsters were portrayed as having too much power in the show, and noted that senior public servants were not as innocent as they were portrayed.
In contrast they found larger themes of media driven policies, "arse-covering" and superficial treatment of complex issues were "remarkably accurate", noting that the Melbourne 2am Lockout laws were a good example.
Series 1 and 2 of The Hollowmen is available on DVD as a three disc box set.
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